Richard Owen: Architectural Acne in W12

A guest post from Richard Owen

askewI cycle daily to work in Park Royal along Askew Road. A substantial number of new street trees have just been planted and it is an increasingly pleasing area.

The northern half of Askew Road is lined by handsome Victorian terraces and semi-detached villas, though unfortunately many of them have lost key original features and have the careworn shabbiness still all too common in many parts of London.

Also, because the street isn’t in a conservation area, it is badly afflicted by what someone once memorably called the ‘architectural acne’  of highly prominent satellite dishes on frontages.

Shepherds Bush Housing Association is a major landowner in Askew Road, and is currently undertaking works on quite a few houses there. Dozens of satellite dishes have been painstakingly detached from brickwork and fastened to scaffolding. As works come to completion, these dishes are then re-attached to the front wall, so they can continue to blight one of Shepherds Bush’s most important roads for years to come.

This seems like a massive missed opportunity to make our  borough more beautiful. Relocating satellite dishes out of sight onto a roof or chimney stack is a piece of cake when you have scaffolding up and skilled tradespeople on site. It costs essentially no more than the current practice of detaching and re-attaching to the same place.

I would implore all social landlords within Hammersmith and Fulham, as well as the council, to ‘bake in’ this practice to their building maintenance guidelines. Over a 5-10 year period, literally hundreds of toxically visible satellite dishes could be put out of harm’s way forever.

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